August 2004


Moving Day

Ah, as I write this I am sitting in the BordRestaurant waiting for the train to leave the station. Once the train gets going, I will be starting the last leg of my journey from Bloomington to Weimar.

The trip has not been without its hitches. Several hitches actually, but thanks to a wonderful United Airlines employee at Indianapolis, it could have been a whole lot worse.

I left the kleinschloss for my new home (yet unnamed) after having had my last breakfast with wife J and kid C at Wee Willies. I had my favorite breakfast in Bloomington: French Toast with the good stuff: cinnamon and powdered sugar plus one syrup. A most excellent meal.

The trip to the airport was, thankfully, uneventful. I pulled the Subaru into the parking lot-at their new location, sure to surprise David, told them when David would return and hopped on the shuttle bus to the terminal where I checked in.

I got the most wonderful man ever. Due to a miscommunication earlier on, my trip from Indianapolis to Frankfurt had been split into two separate one-way plane tickets, the first being IND-IAD-JFK and the second being JFK-FRA. The former was on United and the later on Singapore. I begged him to check my bags through to Frankfurt-and after about 15 minutes of typing and doing whatever it is people do on airline computers, my two bags were on their way to Frankfurt.

That is, perhaps, the most fortunate thing that happened to me in the last 24 hours.

Well, second most fortunate thing. My first flight from IND-IAD (Washington Dulles) was delayed 20 minutes because they had to tow the plane in-although it later appeared under its own power. It was a Chautauqua ERJ-145 and my seat was pleasantly comfortable and I had two excellent pieces of eye candy onboard with me. The first being a cute passenger sitting across the aisle from me, and the second was Tim. Tim was the flight attendant and he was exceptionally cute. I’m happy to report that not only was he cute, he was competent-the beverage service was completed in a reasonable amount of time and he winked at me several times.

Too bad I was moving to Germany.

The plane arrived at IAD a correspondingly number of minutes late-and I made my way over to Concourse A, taking one of those stupid mobile lounges that IAD is infamous for. I realize the architect was given many awards for his terminal design, but it was a rather short sited design without any vision to the future and we pay the price now by having to take these odd looking contraptions around the tarmac.

Now, originally my layover had been schedule for about an hour-under the new scenario, I had 45 minutes to get from one place to the other-I achieved this goal easily and got into the gate with about 10 minutes to spare. Funny enough my second flight was also delayed. The Atlantic Coast CRJ was nowhere to be found and this was immensely frustrating-it wouldn’t have been so bad had the gate agents bothered to announce what was going on. It wasn’t until an hour and a half later when a crowd had formed around the podium that I suggested it might ease tensions if they made some announcements. So they did. Ultimately the flight left about 2 and a quarter hours late for JFK and we got there at 6:15.

Thank goodness for the extraordinarily large layover, now down to three and a half hours.

I changed terminals-United keeps their stuff in Terminal 7, Singapore is in Terminal 4. I stopped by the Singapore check-in desks where they gave me a new boarding card and sent me on my way.

I can now report that my last meal in the USA was a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal. McDonald’s was, sadly, the least expensive and best looking food in the Terminal.

There wasn’t really anything wrong with my Singapore Air flight from JFK to FRA. The service was much nicer than the service one gets on US Flagged carriers-complete with hot towels before take-off, and pretty decent food. I managed to get quite a bit of sleep: I seem to have become an expert at falling asleep during taxing, waking just in time for the plane to roar down the runway and the view to be enjoyable. I did a lot of snoozing on and off until the dinner service, when I had the fish. After dinner I pretty much fell asleep for a couple hours before waking again, and then falling asleep again. That pattern repeated itself until an hour and a half before landing when I pretty much woke up for good. The flight landed about 20 minutes early and I made my way through Terminal 1 to the baggage claim, where I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Once all the bags had come up the chute, a man wandered by and asked my names. My bags had been left behind for some reason-after examining my details he said they were still waiting in Washington, D.C. – and I noticed after peeking at his list, that I wasn’t the only person from my IAD-JFK flight who was missing his bags.

We got the details squared away-my bags will be on the first IAD-FRA flight tomorrow and I should have the bags by midafternoon.

In many respects, this isn’t so bad-I didn’t really want to haul the bags on the train across Germany, into a taxi cab, and up the stairs while jet-lagged. It has also given me the freedom to hang out in the BordRestaurant, drink a beer, grab a bite to eat and otherwise enjoy the 2 and a half hour ride to Weimar.

(Although, as I type this, they just discovered the entré I wanted was still frozen, so they asked me for a second choice- not a big deal. And now they just checked my ticket- ah…. Life is good.)

I think I will close for now, as I do not know when this will get posted, I will just say that I am going to enjoy the scenery. Perhaps I will write more later.

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